Customers can trade Swiss francs for the digital currency.
October 29, 2016 6:50am
Switzerland's national railways firm SBB is branching out next month with the launch of a new service on its ticket machines to sell bitcoins, the web-based digital currency.
Beginning November 11, customers will be able to trade Swiss francs for bitcoins using the ticket machines in a two-year experiment that will test Switzerland's appetite for the cryptocurrency, the state-owned company announced on Friday.
"There have been few possibilities to obtain bitcoins in Switzerland until now," SBB said. "With its 1000-plus ticket machines, SBB operates a dense, around-the-clock distribution network that's suited for more than just ticket sales."
SBB is working with Zug-based digital payments firm SweePay to allow customers to top up their digital 'bitcoin wallet' accounts by mobile phone.
SBB will act as distributor, while the exchange will be performed by SweePay and require users to hold an account with a wallet service that allows storage of the digital currency.
Bitcoin is known for allowing users to move money across the world quickly and relatively anonymously but, on the Swiss ticket machines, users won't be able to procure it without a trace: customers will need to identify themselves using a Swiss mobile phone.
While bitcoins can be purchased, they won't be accepted as payment at the machines, meaning ticket revenues will be unaffected by changes in the bitcoin exchange rate.